I found the following image in Jazz, Blvd. Niklaus Troxler Posters. (The design “Bassdrumbone” from the previous post is by the same designer and from the same book.) The font used in the poster is sans serif. I was unable to determine the font-type with Identifont, which is a cool site and from which I eventually linked to LinoType where I got my answer.
The poster advertises the Willisau Jazz Festival. The first thing I notice is the blue spiral—because it’s the biggest shape on the page, has strong color and value contrast with the background, and is compositionally centered. Furthermore, the spiral form, like a target, draws the eye in and (because of its above mentioned qualities shared by the header) the spiral directs us to the type at the top of the page. The heavy weight of the blue spiral relates to the bold header text, while the thin off-white line inside the spiral is nearly the same weight as the lightweight type advertising the dates “26-29 AUG.”
The type in this image is bold and clean with strong geometry. The even weight of the letter strokes has a nice relationship with shapes between the letters such as those between the T & I and I,V,A, & L in Festival—simple forms so defined they look like elements in the font. The shortened top stroke of the S accommodates the horizontal element of the T and maintains the tight letter spacing. The merging of W & I in “Willisau” is both readable and crates a playful abstract zig-zag.
In the lightweight red text there is no word spacing yet the content is still clear. The use of commas, upper and lower case, and the thoughtful selection of alternate characters make these lines readable. You can see how the alternate character is used with the letter A. The rightward slanting alternate A in “ArtEnsemble” (first line) gives additional space on the left to separate it from the previous word. On the third line find “TheTrio&Albert.” Here, the extra space to the left of the ampersand makes an alternate A unnecessary.
The blue spiral and blue text are the primary components of the design. The red text listing the musicians and the address and phone number (in the lower left) are secondary in value contrast, text size, and line weight while working nicely with the red lips as an accent color in the piece.
It’s not surprising that what attracted me to the piece is its cohesiveness and the fabulous blue spiral. The spiral reinforces the content—reminding me of a musical signature, looking like the scroll of a violin, and functioning as Marge Simpson’s sexy hair (if only she could get it to lay flat and smooth). Part of why Troxler’s jazz posters are great is because he loves music as well as design. (This is very clear if you look at the whole book.) The word play comes to mind—as in playful design and to play music.
image: Jazz Blvd. Niklaus Troxler Posters, 1999, p47, Lars Müller Publishers.